Former President George W. Bush told interviewers the other day that he has few regrets about his tenure in the White House. I understand completely. As a fellow baby boomer, my memory isnt exactly the steel trap it used to be, so I think I know where Bush is coming from: he's probably forgotten most of his actions during those eight years. Dubya may regret one thing before too long, however: his admission that he approved the use of waterboarding. Various organizations, including Amnesty International, the ACLU, and other anti-torture groups, are now calling for a special prosecutor to explore whether Bush violated federal statutes prohibiting torture. (The Justice Department has ruled that waterboarding is torture and, therefore, a crime under federal anti-torture statutes.)
So, yes, torture thats one thing Bush should regret. But there are other regrettable Bush actions the former president has, I believe, simply forgotten. Were here to help, so, hoping our greatest Preznit from Texas reads this, here is a partial list of things Dubya should try to remember, and maybe even regret.
The blithe dismissal of pre-9/11 warnings of impending attacks.
Cherry-picking and fixing the intelligence, in order to justify the invasion of a country whose government had been so weakened by sanctions, it couldnt have been a threat to other countries (much less the U.S.) if it wanted to.
4,400 dead American soldiers.
33,000 wounded and/or maimed American soldiers.
Over a half-million Iraqis killed.
The two million Iraqi refugees who left their own country in order to survive.
The appointment of incompetent cronies to important positions, and the failure to oversee their performance, which led directly to FEMA's ruinous post-Katrina performance and the rampant politicization of the Justice Department.
Using the Justice Dept. to punish political enemies and pervert the selection of judges and prosecutors.
Ratcheting up official fear-mongering (even color-coding it!) whenever it was politically advantageous.
Oversaw an unprecedented, broad program of computer-snooping and warrantless wiretapping of American citizens.
Ordering the indefinite detention of anyone deemed an "enemy combatant," and setting up a detention center in Guantanamo Bay to hold most of them.
Approval of the "rendition" of prisoners to countries where they were tortured
Oversight, if that's what you call it, of the catastrophic mismanagement of the war in Iraq.
Dragging America's name and reputation through the mud, and seriously weakening our international political and economic positions.
OK, thats all the time we have today for what Bushs should-be list of regrets, and we havent even started on environmental mistakes or social justice issues. But, Mr. Preznit, we hope youve enjoyed this session of memory-jogging. Maybe one day, youll even be self-aware enough to think seriously about your disastrous time in office.